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Bailey McDaniel named Truman Scholarship finalist

Bailey McDaniel, a first-generation college student in The Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, as well as a junior in the Department of Sociology, is a finalist for the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for students dedicated to public service.

Criminology major Bailey S.A. McDaniel of Corinth will interview late next month in Nashville, Tennessee, in hopes of becoming the university’s 19th Harry S. Truman Scholar.

Providing $30,000 in graduate-study expenses, the highly-coveted award is annually bestowed upon 55 to 65 students committed to public service after completing their degrees.

Also pursuing a minor in gender studies, Bailey was one of two women recognized by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women last April with its 2016 Outstanding Student Female Leader Award.

McDaniel has served for two years as president of the student LGBTQ+Union, a campus group focused on advocacy, awareness and education of issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Along with being the sole undergraduate member on the university’s Safe Zone Advisory Board, McDaniel serves as a resident adviser in Dogwood Hall.

A founding member of Humans for the Inclusion of Gender Equality, McDaniel expressed gratitude for opportunities to “impact the university and the state of Mississippi by implementing institutional change and growth through LGBTQ+ awareness and advocacy.”

“At MSU, I have worked to create a safer and more progressive environment for all marginalized communities, specifically the LGBTQ+ community,” she said. “Being recognized by the Truman Foundation and the Shackouls Honors College for my work solidifies all of my aspirations and hopes for the future of our campus and state.”

Outside of class, McDaniel has volunteered at Starkville’s Rolling Hills Development Center through the MSU Day One Leadership program, as well as Clay County’s family and children services. A former opinion editor of the Reflector student newspaper, McDaniel’s work has been published in “The Nation,” “The Washington Post” and “Diverse Issues in Higher Education.”

After earning her MSU bachelor’s degree, McDaniel plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. She also expressed interest in continuing her grassroots activism work to implement change in Mississippi.

Tommy Anderson, the Shackouls Honors College’s director of prestigious external scholarships, said McDaniel is the university’s third Truman Scholar finalist in the last three years.

“Bailey’s abiding commitment to the health, safety and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community on campus and across the state is what makes her an outstanding Truman finalist,” said Anderson, also a professor of English.
McDaniel’s prestigious accomplishment embodies MSU’s tradition of instilling among students the ideals of diversity, citizenship, leadership and service, Anderson added.

“Her selection speaks powerfully to the opportunities that the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and the Department of Sociology offer students to grow into engaged citizens committed to public service,” Anderson said.

Established in 1975, the Washington, D.C.-based Truman Scholarship Foundation serves as a living memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. For more, visit www.truman.gov.

Learn more about MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at www.honors.msstate.edu; the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology, at www.sociology.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Written by Sasha Steinberg with contributions from Sylvia Galaty